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12 Apr 1999 description

FREETOWN, April 12 (Reuters) - Forces loyal to the Sierra Leone government have launched a battle to retake the crossroads town of Masiaka from rebels, loyalist soldiers and aid workers said on Monday. The battle began on Sunday, they said. Masiaka is around 40 miles (65 km) due east of the capital Freetown and is the gateway to the north, south and east of the country along the main paved highway from Freetown.